2023 DH/Geisel Summer Research Opportunities

Below are the current 2023 Summer Research Opportunities available at DH/Geisel and affiliates.  This list is updated regularly (last update 3/19/2023)


Summer 2023 Research Projects with DH affiliates


Project 1:


--Faculty name: Dr. Aravindhan Sriharan, MD

--email: Aravindhan.Sriharan@Hitchcock.org (please use this email primarily, and not @dartmouth.edu)

--admin support person email: Susan M. Gagnon <Susan.M.Gagnon@hitchcock.org>

--Department: Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

--Project description:

For all projects, details are available upon request:


1) Genomic changes in differentiated Vulvar Intraepithelial Neoplasia

- for those with an interest in women’s health, genomics, and/or oncology

- we are developing a genomic based tool to aid in the diagnosis of an aggressive cancer of the vulva. Currently, early diagnosis is difficult. Hopefully this project can help change that.

2 )Artificial Intelligence in Digital Pathology

- a range of projects in training machine learning models to address some of the most difficult questions in cancer. The work focuses on questions beyond simple diagnosis.


3) Genomic changes in melanoma

- we have developed a genomic based tool to aid in the diagnosis of melanoma. The manuscripts from the R&D phase are published and/or submitted to journals. We will be soon examining the clinical validation and use of this tool. A student could participate in that effort.

--If you are providing funding, indicate yes or no: No





Project 2:


Faculty name: Resmiye Oral, Mark Cervinski

email: resmiye.oral@hitchcock.org; Mark.A.Cervinski@hitchcock.org

Department: Pediatrics, Pathology

Project description: Simultaneous Use of Urine and Hair toxicology is the most effective path to identifying drug endangered children.

-- To test the hypothesis that using hair and urine toxicology testing simultaneously in the assessment of allegedly abused/neglected children, 4 weeks of age until 12 years of age improves case finding compared to using only urine toxicology testing.

-- To use the data obtained from this study in staff education to help providers appreciate the value of using urine and hair toxicology simultaneously to prevent missed cases

-- Allegedly abused/neglected children from 4 weeks of age until 12 years of age








Project 3:


--Faculty name: Peter Wright

--email: Peter.f.wright@dartmouth.edu

--Department: Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine, Department of Pediatrics

--Project description:

. Steps in development of SARS CoV-2 vaccine can’t predict exactly where we will be this summer but an active program to develop an adenovirus 4 based intranasal SARS vaccine

--If you are providing funding, indicate yes or no: Can provide funding




Project 4:


--Faculty name: Zachary P. Soucy

--email: Zachary.P.Soucy@hitchcock.org


--Project description:

  • BVOID: Bladder Void Device Development- Implanted Device Development
    1. Urinary bladder voiding is a problem in many with spinal cord injuries and a host of metabolic and post-operative complications.  We are exploring device pathways which might produce effective voiding.
    2. We have recently been funded by the US department of defense for animal studies in the Dartmouth Surgical Research Lab over the next two years. We expect to start swine lab experiments summer into fall 2023 and are open to Geisel students joining the team
    3. I am clinical PI as part of a multidisciplinary team including DHMC urologists and voiding experts as well as a team of engineers (mechanical, software, electrical, and fabrication) at Creare.
    4. We welcome Geisel students to help work on this project and publication!


  • Smart REBOA (resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta) Catheter Development
    1. I am PI for a team of trauma/EM physicians working with engineers on a catheter that blocks blood flow in the aorta (measures pH and blood pressure) using machine learning to keep patients with intraabdominal hemorrhage alive as long as possible.
    2. We are funded by the US department of defense to help develop this catheter and expect to start swine studies in the fall 2023.
    3. We welcome Geisel students to join our attending/resident team!


  • Assessing Operational Impact of a System Wide Point of Care Ultrasound Standardization Initiative
    1. DHMC has one of the most mature enterprise (system wide) point of care ultrasound programs in the country.
    2. We have an IRB approved study evaluating the effectiveness and many benefits of implementing such a program.
    3. Work with our Advanced EM Ultrasound Fellow to study this hot topic and write a first of its kind publication!
  • Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) projects
    1. DHMC EM residents and our US attending group are in early phases working with Geisel anatomists on a variety of POCUS projects including:
      1. Paramedic POCUS for the state of NH and multiple corresponding studies
      2. Differences between in person vs tele (audio + visual) guidance of procedures and education value
  • Have an idea and interest in POCUS- work with our group to see if it is possible!


--If you are providing funding, indicate yes or no: TBD


Project 5:

Faculty Name: Andrew Loehrer

Email: Andrew.p.loehrer@hitchcock.org

Admin Email: melissa.d.kiernan@hitchcock.org

Department: Surgery


Medical students will have an opportunity to participate in one or multiple studies including:

  • Evaluation of the influence of federal and state health policy on the equity of cancer and surgical care delivery.
  • Determining the influence of residential redlining and neighborhood socioeconomic environments on equity of cancer care.
  • Describe the role of cancer center location in structural racism influence equity of cancer care delivery in the United States.

Funding: Available through the Dow Surgical Education Program, through separate application.




Project 6:


--Faculty name: Tim Burdick MD MSc MBA

--email: timothy.e.burdick@hitchcock.org

--admin support person email: Laurie.B.Emanuele@hitchcock.org

--Department: Community and Family Medicine

--Project description: Predicting Respiratory Symptom Severity in Patient Portal Messages Using Natural Language Processing (NLP)

* Aim 1: develop Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools to sort patient portal messages into messages with respiratory symptoms vs other conditions

* Aim 2: develop NLP tools to classify respiratory symptoms into priority/risk categories: low, medium, and high priority

* Project being co-sponsored by Dr. Sarah Preum, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Dartmouth College

* No NLP experience required, but should be interested in use of computer systems to solve important, relevant clinical barriers to care

* Strong possibility for being co-author on future publications


--If you are providing funding, indicate yes or no: hoping for Geisel Summer Internship stipend/work study pay


Project 7:


--Faculty name: Samuel A. Lee, MD Ph.D

--email: samuel.a.lee@dartmouth.edu, and Samuel.Lee9@va.gov

--admin support person email: Tammy.Willens@va.gov

--Department: Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases and International Heath

--Project description

  • The role of endocytosis, secretion, filamentation, and biofilm formation in the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans
  • Translational research on antifungal drug discovery and repurposing
  • Molecular biology, cell biology, microbiology
  • Laboratory is based at the VA

--If you are providing funding, indicate yes or no

No stipend is provided.





Project 8:


--Faculty name: Kelli Pointer

--email: kelli.b.pointer@dartmouth.edu

--Department: Radiation Oncology

--Project description (bulleted would be best):

- Lab based on 6th floor of Rubin

- Research to investigate ways to overcome mechanisms of radiation resistance in cancer, specifically glioblastoma.

- Project can be tailored based on previous research experience and extended based on time and availability.

- Will involve cell culture, western blotting, patient samples, immunohistochemistry, databases, and additional molecular techniques.

- Shadowing opportunities in Radiation Oncology available in the clinic during research time as well

--If you are providing funding, indicate yes or no- No




Project 9:

--Faculty name: Kelli Pointer

--email: kelli.b.pointer@dartmouth.edu

--Department: Radiation Oncology

--Project description:

- Examining SEER database to look at of treatment paradigms for cancer patients with radiation, surgery and chemotherapy based on various factors such as rural vs. urban areas and how that has changed over time.

- Shadowing opportunities in Radiation Oncology available in the clinic during research time as well.

--If you are providing funding, indicate yes or no- No


Project 10:


--Faculty name: David Leib

--email: David.A.Leib@Dartmouth.edu

--Department: Microbiology and Immunology

--Project description:

We are testing vaccines and therapeutic monoclonal antibodies to prevent neurodegeneration and memory loss following neonatal infection.

Experiments will involve measurement of adult mouse behavior and memory, as well as brain pathology following neonatal infection.

Opportunity to learn virology, cell culture, mouse behavioral analysis, and brain pathology.

--If you are providing funding, indicate yes or no

Supply budget provided, but no salary/stipend support.




Project 11:


Faculty Name:  Anna K. Fariss, MD

Email:  Anna.K.Fariss@Hitchcock.org

Admin Support Person Email:  Pamela.L.Easton@Hitchcock.org

Dept:  Medicine, Radiation Oncology section

Project Description:

How to Increase Med Student interest in Pursuing Radiation Oncology Residency?

Problem – Decreasing numbers of medical students applying for residency in Radiation Oncology.

-Unfilled Radiation Oncology residency positions in Match.

-Most medical students not applying to Rad Onc residency never exposed to it.

@ Geisel – Clinical Foundations Class (video, then small groups, followed by Mock Tumor Bd) to introduce 1st yr med students to Rad Onc. Goal of this project is to create pre Clinical Foundations Class survey to assess knowledge/awareness of Rad Onc, followed by post class survey to assess for change in interest in pursuing Rad Onc residency.

Funding:  No

















Project 12:


Faculty Name: Michael Mayo-Smith MD MPH

Email: Michael.F.Mayo-Smith@Dartmouth.edu

Admin Support person email: mfmayosmith@gmail.com

Department: Medicine, White River Junction

Projection Description:

I would like to offer an outstanding opportunity for a medical student at any year exists to assist in data collection and analysis for a studies using the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) database.  GBD is a very large, international, research effort, funded by WHO and the Gates Foundation, to collect, process and analyze global data on the burden of disease(  https://www.healthdata.org/gbd/2019 ). It was initiated in 1990 and thus has a database extending back over 30 years. It has stressed data transparency and availability and developed a number of websites allowing public access to its data with user friendly and visually sophisticated formats ( https://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-results/ , https://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-compare/ ).  I am a research collaborator with GBD and have been working on projects with the Vascular Surgery department on global burden from vascular disease, with recent publications and presentations on peripheral artery disease and abdominal aortic aneurysms. I am interested in exploring the relative impact of demographic changes (expanding population and aging of the population), risk factor modification and improvements in clinical care on burden of disease globally over the past 3 decades. Additional projects are planned to look at the variation across United States in impact and changes in vascular diseases.

The student’s role would be to collect specific sets of data from the GBD database utilizing their websites, and then assist in formatting and analyzing the information. The student would have the opportunity to use the extensive GBD training materials if desired. If the student has the requisite skills, there is an opportunity to use programming to extract and format data from the GBD website. It is anticipated the student would have the opportunity to be a coauthor on at least one publication derived from this effort.


Project Funding: Geisel Office of Financial Aid. (Independent funding by the sponsor is not provided.)




















Project 13:


Faculty involved:
Karen Lewicki MD karen.lewicki@va.gov
Erica Gotow MD erica.k.gotow@hitchcock.org

Jonathan Hastings MD Jonathan.hastings@va.gov

Department: Psychiatry

Project: Connecting At-Risk Veterans to Whole Health Programs
Veterans frequently report histories of developmental stress and trauma, as captured by the Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire. Developmental stress of this kind gives increased risk along the life course for various health problems including depression, substance use problems, suicidal ideation, and partner relationship problems, along with increased risk for many of the chronic diseases of aging. Loneliness in particular is often seen in individuals with histories of developmental stress, and loneliness constitutes its own health risk, as significant as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

The VA fortunately has many resources and opportunities to address these health risks. Whole Health, in particular, is a large program containing within it a variety of resources and opportunities for addressing many aspects of health, from diet and exercise to social connection and spiritual life. Whole Health puts the veteran in charge of their care, by asking in a variety of different ways: “What matters to you?”

In this IRB-exempted quality improvement project, originated by Dr Erica Gotow at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, in coordination with the White River Junction VA, you would have the opportunity to:

- Conduct Adverse Childhood Experience assessments with veterans on inpatient psychiatry, and offer psychoeducation about the meaning of assessments taken

- Conduct assessments of loneliness, using validated scales

- Learn about and explore the many resources and programs within the VA’s large Whole Health initiative

- Use the assessment tools within Whole Health to connect veterans with programs

- Assess the success of these efforts in connecting veterans with follow up.


Funded: No extra funding at this time, however Whole Health grants could be pursued in the future












Project 14:


--Faculty name: Louise Davies, MD, MS- Professor of Surgery – Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery


--email: Louise.Davies@Dartmouth.edu



Surgery – Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery


--Project description

  • We need to learn a few important baseline patient reported outcome characteristics of patients potentially eligible for a thyroid cancer clinical trial under development
  • The involved medical student will perform data collection – invite eligible participants to complete three survey instruments
  • The involved medical student will collate the data into Excel and analyze the data with support from the faculty member and a Dartmouth statistician
  • The survey is completed as follows:
    • patients are approached before their appointments – this is what is called a ‘Waiting room survey’ a survey completed by people waiting for their appointment
    • The patients fill out the survey on paper, possibly with guidance from you, the medical student, if they have prefer to have it read to them
    • The location of the research is Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
  • The completed work will be suitable for a poster presentation that could be submitted to an academic meeting, and if there is desire to stay involved in the project could potentially lead to publication in a multi-institutional project to assess these characteristics across different settings


--If you are providing funding, indicate yes or no

We potentially have some money that we might be able to redirect from a Prouty Pilot grant we received to support this work.





Project 16:

Faculty name: Crystal Noller, PhD

Email: crystal.m.noller@dartmouth.edu

Admin support person email: All approved students must receive a Without Compensation (WOC) designation. Each investigator must request this on behalf of their students. I can provide the process, contact, and timeline, as needed.

Department: Psychiatry (primary) and Surgery (Neurosurgery; secondary) at Geisel

Project description: Our laboratory is currently investigating the use of neuromodulation to enhance recovery from neurotrauma and PTSD. Although these tools hold significant potential, there is a critical need for non-invasive and non-surgical options in instances where surgical intervention may not be ideal, such as on the battlefield. The primary project would involve a pre-clinical (mouse) model of brain or spinal cord injury. The student’s role will be to determine dose effects of targeted pharmacological interventions on inflammatory consequences and evaluate behavioral changes after injury. As time and interest permit, the student may also have the opportunity to participate in a pre-clinical neuromodulation project, which may involve deep brain stimulation or vagus nerve stimulation. The VA will only sponsor US citizens or persons eligible to work in the US.

If you are providing funding, indicate yes or no: We will be responsible for covering research costs associated with the project.



Project 17:

Faculty: Jennifer Meijer PhD, RD


Department of Medicine: Center for Digestive Health

Funding: No funding to support this position

Project Description

Research Question: Does improvements in nutritional behaviors prior to bariatric surgery predict success of bariatric surgery? How does patient reported importance of health and confidence to make changes modify the association between nutrition behaviors and bariatric surgery success?


Rationale: Lifestyle modifications are associated with modest weight loss (3-5%). However, lifestyle modifications prior to bariatric surgery many support increased weight loss by establishing strong patterns that can be sustained post-surgery.


Objective: The objective of this research project is to determine if change in nutritional behaviors before bariatric surgery are associated with (1) sustained increased weight loss and (2) improvement in metabolic markers measured at 1-year post-bariatric surgery.


Study Population

  • Adults (ages ≥18 years) who receive care at the Weight and Wellness Center prior to receiving bariatric surgery at DH.



  • Predictors: Change in survey response (Pre: entry to WWC, Post: entry to bariatric program)
    • Quality of food: REAP-S survey (score composed of 14 questions)
    • Ability to cook food: Culinary survey (11 questions)
    • Emotional eating: TFEQ (16 questions)
  • Effect Modifiers:
    • Confidence in eating behaviors: WEL-SF (score composed of 8 questions)
    • Importance of improving health: Importance surgery (2 questions)
  • Outcomes: Change after bariatric surgery (Pre: bariatric surgery values, Post: 1-year post-surgery)
    • Weight and BMI
    • Metabolic markers (insulin, glucose, HbA1c, lipid panel, liver enzymes)
  • Covariates: Will be considered in models and/or sensitivity analyses
    • Overall: Initial BMI, age, sex, race, ethnicity
    • WWC treatment covariates: Number of visits, obesity medication (Y or N)
    • Bariatric treatment covariates: Surgical complications (Y or N), obesity medication (Y or N), procedure (RYGB or LSG)


Internship Expectations

  • Completion of analyses translating to a manuscript or research brief
  • At the minimum, weekly meetings with Dr. Meijer
  • Weekly meetings with Obesity Medicine Research Team
  • Presentation of results at a clinical care meeting with the Weight and Wellness Center team and/or the Bariatric Surgery team.
  • Accommodation for DH onsite and remote hours. Requirement for DH onsite at specific times.

Project 18:


Faculty: Matthew A. Roginski, MD, MPH

Faculty Bio: Matthew Roginski is an emergency and critical care physician who works in the emergency department, medical ICU, and surgical ICU at DH. Along with his clinical duties he serves as DHART’s assistant medical director. He is interested in critical care transport and how critical care provided outside the ICU impacts patient’s care and outcomes in the ICU.

Email: matthew.a.roginski@hithcock.org

Department: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team (DHART), Department of Emergency Medicine

Funding: None provided by PI

Availability: 3 students, EMS background preferable, but not required.


Projects: Over the summer our team has two projects planned that will involve students in both projects. We can accommodate a total of three students for the summer, preferably with an EMS background, but this is not required. This summer we are fortunate to work with a multidisciplinary team composed of an ED resident, DHART nurses and paramedics, a general surgery/leadership in preventive medicine resident, and a critical care pharmacist. Along with work on the two projects my goal is to expose students to the practice of emergency medicine, critical care medicine, critical care transport, and research and QI principles.


Project A:

  • Title:Sedation of Mechanically Ventilated Patients During Critical Care Transport: A Quality Improvement Initiative.
  • Description:This QI initiative involves process improvement surrounding the sedation of critically ill patients who are mechanically ventilated and transported by the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advance Response Team (DHART). In a rural area, critically ill patients often start their care at small community hospitals and are transported to tertiary care medical centers for specialized care. Emergent care such as insertion of a breathing tube, sedation, muscle relaxation, starting blood pressure supporting medications, and addressing immediate life threats are often started in the emergency department (ED) or by DHART. During this journey the patients moves across many silos of care. From the perspective of an emergency physician, the goal is often to stabilize the patient and send them to an ICU for ongoing care. From DHART’s perspective, the goal is to keep the patient stable, treat life threats, and move the patient to the ICU. From the initial ICU perspective, the goal is to define the differential diagnosis, start management, and optimize care with the least amount of sedation possible because there are long term implications of overly heavy sedation.


Over the past two summers students have created a database of patient transports prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our data shows that a large proportion of patients are deeply sedated and approximately one quarter have benzodiazepines administered without a change in adverse event rates. In the fall of 2022, a Leadership in Preventive Medicine resident (with a background in general surgery and a future in trauma surgery) joined the research team from The Dartmouth Institute. His capstone quality improvement project will be to improve sedation practices of mechanically ventilated patients at DHART.

  • Student Role:Data abstraction and database entry of patients who were transported by DHART. This involves chart review and entering sedation and clinical data into the database. Our goal is to have the students participate in the plan-do-study-act cycles as well as communication of progress to the DHART crew.


Project B:

  • Title:Predictors of Hemodynamic Collapse After Intubation During Critical Care Transport
  • Description: Peri-intubation hemodynamic collapse has been studied in the pre-hospital, emergency department and critical care setting. However, robust literature regarding peri-intubation hemodynamic collapse in the pre-hospital is lacking. Retrospective chart reviews exist regarding hemodynamic instability in pre-hospital intubation: several describe the incidence and risk factors for hemodynamic instability post-intuabtionand others compare risks of hemodynamic instability associated with different intubation agents.  Many investigators have identified risk factors for hemodynamic instability after intubation in the critically ill patient in the hospital setting. Recently, the PrePARE I and II trials have suggested that pre-intubation fluid bolus does not eschew post-intubation hypotension. Additionally, several of these in-hospital studies have linked post-intubation hypotension with adverse outcomes including increased in-hospital mortality, increased ICU days, and increased ventilator days. However, upon our review no literature thus far connects pre-hospital intubation with in-hospital outcomes.

Our investigation will attempt to follow patients from initial contact with EMS through hospitalization to connect pre-hospital care to patient outcomes. Following similar methodology from a recently published paper that focused on ICU patients: Peri-intubation Cardiovascular Collapse in Patients Who are Critically Ill: Insights from the INTUBE Study. The objective of our retrospective chart review is to investigate modifiable risk factors associated with hemodynamic collapse among patients undergoing intubation during critical care transport (including out-of-hospital/scene intubation and intubations at referring hospitals) by a DHART paramedics and nurses. Additionally, for those transported to DHMC we aim to compare outcomes of patients who experienced hemodynamic collapse after intubation with those who did not.

  • Student Role: Data abstraction and database entry of patients who were transported by DHART. This involves chart review and entering sedation and clinical data into the database. We anticipate reviewing ~360 charts and each chart review taking between 30-45 minutes depending on EMS or out of hospital record availability. Students will be taught the practices and principles of endotracheal intubation and associated pharmacology.



Project 19:

--Faculty name: Joshua Levy

--email: joshua.j.levy@dartmouth.edu

--admin support person email: Meg.M.Parker@hitchcock.org

--Department: Pathology and Dermatology

--Project description

  • We have many projects in Pathology and Dermatology centered around creating and validating artificial intelligence and spatial omics technologies which are designed "by clinicians, for clinicians"
  • Students will learn to develop innovative machine learning technologies and/or perform statistical/bioinformatics analyses
  • Skills acquired during this experience will readily translate to industry/academia
  • Programming experience in R or Python preferred but not required
  • We can take on up to 5-7 summer students.
  • Example summer projects include but are not limited to:
    • Developing intraoperative margin assessment tool for Mohs survey
    • Spatial transcriptomic, methylation and metals/elemental assessment of Colon and Breast tumor metastasis
    • Automated bladder cancer screening tool and recurrence prediction
    • Virtual staining technologies to digitally produce immunohistochemical stains from H&E
    • Defining rigorous quantitative predictors and outcomes for epidemiological studies of placental tissue
    • Exploring cell-type specific molecular mechanisms associated with accelerated aging in skin in response to acute/chronic UV exposure
      • Studying single cell RNASeq and ATACSeq data, spatially-resolved transcriptomics, DNA Methylation, etc.
    • Mentoring high school students on clinical applications of AI technologies
    • Natural language processing of pathology notes
    • Eye-tracking studies and educational improvement projects
    • Assisting clinicians in Pathology and Dermatology with various statistical analyses
    • have a fun, innovative project idea?

--If you are providing funding, indicate yes or no




Project 21:

-Faculty name: Nidhi Shah, MD

-email: nidhi.d.shah@hitchcock.org

-Department: Pediatrics/Genetics and Child Development + Pathology/Clinical Genomics and Advanced Technology (CGAT) lab

-Project description:

  • The BabySeq Project is the first-of-its-kind randomized clinical trial designed to examine the medical, social, and economic impacts of integrating genomic sequencing (GS) into the clinical care of newborns, in order to predict and prevent childhood-onset as well as actionable adult-onset disease.
  • The pilot phase was performed at an urban tertiary academic medical center where infants from the ICU as well as well baby nursery as well as their physicians were enrolled. The findings were very striking:
    • Medically, we discovered and disclosed unanticipated monogenic disease risks in 11% of the infants randomized to receive genomic sequencing, and we discovered previously unrecognized signs of underlying disease and relevant family history in over 65% of these.
    • Behaviorally, we found no increased distress among parents or disruption to the parent-child relationship in response to receiving GS results.
    • Economically, we found only modest increases in downstream health costs.
    • The majority of healthcare provider participants felt there were health benefits associated with newborn GS.
  • The second phase plans to enroll infants upto 1 year old from their primary care clinic and is focused on intentionally engaging geographically and socio-economically diverse families for a more representative cohort. DH serves a primarily rural patient population of diverse socio-economic backgrounds and is exceptionally well-positioned to understand the unique challenges of this environment.
  • The student would be able to participate in and learn about various aspects of this multi-center randomized controlled clinical trial such as participant recruitment, whole genome sequencing analysis, return of results to patients as well as help understand how we can use our study data to incorporate personalized medicine in primary care in the future.


- Funding: No








Project 22:

-Faculty name: Resmiye Oral, Mark Cervinski

-email: resmiye.oral@hitchcock.org; Mark.A.Cervinski@hitchcock.org

-Department: Pediatrics, Pathology

Project Title: Simultaneous Use of Urine and Hair toxicology is the most effective path to identifying drug endangered children.

Objective: to test the hypothesis that using hair and urine toxicology testing simultaneously in the assessment of allegedly abused/neglected children, 4 weeks of age until 12 years of age improves case finding compared to using only urine toxicology testing.

-Funding: No



Project 23:

-Faculty name: Alison Kapadia

-email: AKapadia@cheshire-med.com

-Department: Learning Environment/ N/A

Project Title: Developing Effective Communication Skills to Address Microaggressions in Healthcare Learning Environments

Objective: Teaching medical students’ mindfulness and effective communication skills can:

  1.    Improve skill in responding constructively to microaggressions
  2. Increase willingness and courage to respond and to ally with others
  3. Improve self-efficacy
  4. Improve sense of belonging and safety
  5. Enhance ability to ask for help when unsafe to speak up


Focus on students’ experiences

Set up psychologically safe small groups to practice skills

Provide communication tools to use

Provide coaching and feedback

Need Students for:

  • Literature review
  • Writing & publishing papers

-Funding: No

Project 24:

Faculty Name: Linda Vahdat, MD, MBA

Email: Linda.T.Vahdat@hitchcock.org

Admin Support Person Email: Hannah.Lee.Andrew@hitchcock.org and Naomi.T.Kornhauser@hitchcock.org

Department: Hematology Oncology

Project Description: We have multiple ongoing investigator initiated studies with biorespositories and corresponding databases within our breast cancer research program at The Dartmouth Cancer Center.

This project includes:

  • Creating a cohesive database corresponding to specimens from multiple projects, auditing and cleaning the data within the database, and updating survival data
  • Pulling data from source documents and requesting additional specimens as needed
  • Organizing specimens and any patient data needed for various projects utilizing stored biospecimens

This project requires a good knowledge of Microsoft Excel.

Funding: Partial


Project 25:

Faculty Name: Inna Lishchenko

Email: inna.lishchenko@hitchcock.org

Location: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Office of the Chief Research Officer, Borwell 7th floor.


Project title: The Relationship Between Clinical Setting and Control Group Quit Rate in Studies of Smoking Cessation


Brief description: Research suggests that individuals who smoke are more likely to quit if the intervention begins during periods of acute illness. Randomized clinical trials have found that quit rates appear highest when tobacco dependence treatment is begun in hospitalized patients, lower in patients treated in emergency departments, and lowest when begun in outpatient settings. This gradient appears present even in the control arms of these studies. This may reflect individuals’ greater motivation to quit when faced with serious illness. However, this has not been formally studied. The Principal Investigator is Steven L. Bernstein, MD, Chief Research Officer for D-H and Senior Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research.


The study would involve: A structured search of the English-language medical literature to identify primary reports of randomized trials of tobacco dependence treatment conducted in clinical settings. Papers will be stratified by site of intervention: inpatient, emergency department, or ambulatory/outpatient clinic. Data will extracted by the investigator and pooled for a formal meta-analysis to be conducted by the investigator, comparing quit rates in the control arms of these three groups of studies. Assistance will be provided by the study team, medical librarian, and statistical support staff.


Funding: TBD


Project 26:

Faculty name: Joel Bradley, MD; Director of GME Quality and Safety Programs; Co-director Geisel SOM Patient and Populations

Email: Joel.M.Bradley@Hitchcock.org

Department: Depts of Medicine, Pediatrics and Value Institute

Project description:

Quality and safety education and narrative medicine research project: qualitative textual analysis of third year medical student narratives in quality and safety during the internal medicine clerkship.

Since 2015, we have collected narratives from third year Geisel SOM students rotating through the internal medicine clerkship relating to patient safety.  There are approximately 40 narratives created each year, for a total of  ~360 narratives.  This curriculum has been previously published.  However, the content of these narratives – the quality  and safety issues students notice, their source in systems factors, and the themes that arise within their reflections – have not been described.  These documents contain rich descriptions of safety events captured in a modified “H&P” format.  This project involves devising an approach to studying these narratives, understanding themes relating to both the system itself AND the gaze of the students within these systems, using qualitative methods.  A recent paper focused on medical student professionalism narratives provides an interesting methodology to consider.

Qualitative research experience is strongly preferred.

Student (s) can conduct internship activities on-site or virtually, and may help with following activities:

  • Literature review
  • Study conception and qualitative design
  • IRB application
  • Qualitative data analysis – likely using a qualitative program
  • Paper writing/publication
  • Conference abstract submissions and presentations (e.g. AAMC)
  • Qualitative data analyses

If you are providing funding– no; however, grant writing could be considered.



PI: Sarah Masud Preum - Assistant Professor, Computer Science, Dartmouth College 


Title: Detecting urgency in patient portal messages in the electronic medical record using advanced natural language processing (IRB # MOD00017363)
Required skill: pre-med students, or medical students to review progress notes and patient-generated messages and assign a triage category (low, medium, high urgency). The ideal candidate should have a great attention to details, and ability to work independently.
Description: The goal of this project is to assess the feasibility of triaging patient messages through machine learning and natural language processing algorithms. Patient portal messages have inherent key words and phrases that linguistically imply levels of urgency. We hypothesize that utilizing natural language processing and machine learning on such messages and corresponding EHR data of the patients, we will be able to stratify patient messages based on urgency level, triage messages in a more efficient manner to reduce the workload of healthcare providers. We have following objectives in this project. (1) Identify presence of certain predictors in the text of patient portal messages to providers in the DH primary care. (2) Extracting and fusing contextual information (patient age, medical history) from the content of the message and patient information in myDH/medical record. (3) Combining aims 1 and 2 to successfully predict urgency of patient inquiry through machine learning and natural language processing algorithms. We will also assess the feasibility of predicting clinical outcomes in the form of emergency department visit or hospital admission using the same patient data. In the long term, we will explore the feasibility of developing natural language processing algorithms to generate suggestions for response for a subset of clinical conditions.




PI: Sarah Masud Preum - Assistant Professor, Computer Science, Dartmouth College


Title: Characterizing Information Needs and Peer Engagement Regarding Medications for Opioid Use Disorder on Social Media (IRB # CPHS STUDY00032630)
Required skill: pre-med students, or medical students to review patient-generated narratives collected from Reddit and assign label(s) indicating what type of information needs are mentioned in those Reddit posts. We will provide the set of relevant labels and their definition. The ideal candidate should have a great attention to details, and ability to work independently.
Description: This study aims to analyze Reddit data to identify and characterize help-seeking on Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) treatment to develop a computational understanding of knowledge gaps of individuals affected by OUD that prevent them from getting MOUD treatment. This study will focus on extracting insights on how to characterize help-seeking into different meaningful themes or topics using novel natural language processing methods. We hypothesize that systematically analyzing data on Reddit users’ interaction will yield exciting and pertinent insights for knowledge gaps in MOUD treatment that create barriers to effective treatment delivery. The long term goal of this project is to identify (i) why, when, and how people seek help on MOUD and (ii) how peers respond to those questions.


Project 29:

--Faculty name: Inas Khayal

--email:  inas.khayal@dartmouth.edu

--Department: TDI

--Project 1 description:

  • Classic mortality quality measures capture the death of a patient in a hospital, but provide no information about why or how the patient died; information that would be needed for quality improvement efforts.
  • The goal of this project is to identify typologies for patients that die in a hospital.
  • The role of the student will be in case review to label deaths into specific typology classifications.

--If you are providing funding:  no

--Project 2 description:

  • As part of an American Cancer Society Grant, we are interested in identifying quality improvement efforts in hospitals and health systems that aim to decrease healthcare disparities for patients with cancer.
  • The approach may take the form of a survey or gray literature review.

--If you are providing funding:  no



Project 30:

Faculty name: Alison Holmes

Email: alison.v.holmes@dartmouth.edu

Department: Pediatrics


Project description: Newborns who have been exposed to opioids in utero are at risk for physical withdrawal symptoms in the days and weeks after delivery. As some of these withdrawal symptoms can lead to serious morbidity, current guidelines stipulate an extended hospital observation period of at least 96 hours after delivery, and longer if significant symptoms develop. This is the case even for babies born to mothers who have been in a sustained period of recovery on a long-acting opioid such as methadone or buprenorphine. For experienced parents with older children at home, the extended stay can lead to significant family disruption, and sometimes a parent is not available to stay in the hospital with the newborn under a rooming-in care model that is best practice for opioid-exposed newborns. Less than 10% of this more stable group of babies ever requires medical treatment for newborn opioid withdrawal.


There is now a model for newborn telemedicine that is already employed at DHMC through the "Hope Grows at Home--HGH" program. We propose to partner with HGH to discharge a select population of opioid-exposed newborns home at 48 hours of age and continue monitoring of withdrawal symptoms and nutritional status with twice-daily telemedicine visits. We have signed an agreement with New Hampshire Medicaid so there will be no penalty if any of these babies subsequently require hospital admission.


Our goals for the summer are to:

--Submit our proposal to the DH IRB

--Begin recruiting potential families to the program prenatally

--Implement the program, and measure clinical and family satisfaction outcomes


Funding: No





















Project 15:


--Faculty name: Thomas Thesen, Ph.D. and Taryn Weinstein, Ed.D.

--email: Thomas.Thesen@dartmouth.edu and Taryn.C.Weinstein@Dartmouth.edu

--admin support person email: Tina.L.Hoisington@Dartmouth.edu

--Department: Medical Education / Student Affairs

--Project description:

Are you interested in mental health, especially in medical students and physicians? Are you curious to find out more about how consumer digital health technologies, such as smartwatches and FitBits, can improve mental health?  


This research project provides guidance and mentorship to perform a literature review on the use of digital health tools to assess wellness and mental health in medical trainees.


  1. Investigate recent applications of wearable health and wellness device technology in relation to mental health in healthcare personnel
  2. Analyze the effectiveness of wearable technology in improving healthcare personnel mental health and wellness
  3. Examine the limitations and obstacles accompanying these applications
  4. Synthesize the information gathered to create a comprehensive literature review on the topic
  5. Identify gaps in current research and suggest potential areas for future study.


--If you are providing funding, indicate yes or no (Work Study stipend)